ROYAL WEDDING DRINKING GAME

If you're anything like me (and if you are, sorry), you're going to need a stiff drink to get through watching the Royal Wedding with your family and/or friends.

 Can't help but wonder what Hunter S. Thompson would have made of all this   

Can't help but wonder what Hunter S. Thompson would have made of all this

 

So here's some sweet, sweet drinking game rules to gradually numb you until it's time to turn the telly off and fire up the BBQ before a couple of months of blessed relief until she gets pregnant and the collective insanity starts again.

TAKE A DRINK WHEN:

Anyone brings up how much Diana would have loved to be there. As opposed to dying young in a car crash, presumably.

Your mildly racist auntie or mate from school says something disparaging about Meghan like 'You know, she's divorced' or 'well, I don't think she's that pretty'. Not pretty, Aunt Esme? F*cking LOOK AT HER!

Knock your drink if they then say something like 'but it's not because she's black' and then bite your tongue because your mam's giving you the 'remember what happened at Christmas dinner when you mentioned your mate Iqbal' look.

Some absolute jeb wearing a Union Jack suit or Britannia outfit says something that makes you want to cob your glass at the screen. 'I've been camping here since Kate had her baby!' Then you're a gibbering idiot and you probably stink, mate.

Your republican social justice warrior mate says something airy and smug like 'think how many nurses this could have paid for' or 'something something Daily Mail something vinyl something something vegan'.

One of your mates gives an audible, tabloid-style 'PHWOAR!' when they see a hot minor royal or Pippa or someone in a military uniform. Knock your drink if it's Camilla they're referring to.

Every time George or Charlotte do something cute. Yes, this one isn't as mean-spirited as the rest, but they're kids and actually quite adorable. Irritatingly.

Whenever Harry's military service is mentioned. Knock your drink if they bring up the fact that a British prince straight up killed people in a helicopter in Afghanistan. Which is pretty f*cking mad if you think about it.

Someone makes a joke about the fact that someone who once wore a Nazi outfit as a joke is now marrying a black woman. Again, f*cking mad.

Harry does a mildly amusing funny face or something and everyone laughs like he's the mutant offspring of Bill Hicks and Richard Pryor.

NOT TACKLING THE ISSUE Former France player Lilian Thuram calls Pele 'selfish' for not doing more to fight racism

This didn't get picked up, so thought I'd plonk it on here. 

Thuram.jpg

RETIRED French footballer Lilian Thuram has blasted Brazilian soccer legend Pele for not doing more to tackle racism.

The World Cup-winning defender, who made 142 appearances for France between 1994 and 2008, told Brazilian TV station Sportv that Pele was 'selfish' not to use his fame to fight prejudice.

Thuram, who also played for  Parma, Juventus and Barcelona, said: "The truth is that Pele never positioned himself, he never took a stand on the problem of racism in Brazil,.

“He is someone who could have pushed things forward.

"I do not know Pele, but I think it's necessary to overcome a certain selfishness.

“And it may be that Pele does not have that greatness of the soul, because, in fact, if you see the image he has in the world, I think he should have done more."

The 46-year-old added: “I remain convinced that in the end of his life, it's something he'll regret.”

Thuram launched an anti-racism education foundation in 2008 and has written several books on the subject.

Pele, 77, has not responded to Thuram's comments.

It is not the first time the former player, considered the greatest who ever lived, has been criticised for being too close to the establishment - including during the brutal military dictatorship that ruled the country from 1964 to 1985.

Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, also raised eyebrows in a 2015 interview when he said he feels racist incidents in football are blown out of proportion.

DRUNK-UN DICTATOR South Korean musician who visited North Korea says Kim Jong-un was knocking back booze at dinner

Kim.jpg

North Korea has long held a fascination for me and South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo provided an interesting glimpse into Kim Jong-un at play.

A South Korean musician who performed in Pyongyang claims North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was drinking heavily at an official dinner.

Choi Tae-hwan, a member of singer Cho Yong-pil's band, said Kim was going from table to table pouring drinks for South Korean musicians after an historic performance in the North Korean capital earlier this week.

He told The Chosun Ilbo that Kim "frequently stressed the need for unity among the Korean people and drank quite a lot.”

He added: “He's a heavy drinker."

Kim reportedly spends millions on expensive alcohol and food – while impoverished North Koreans struggle to find enough to eat.

It was reported that the tyrant once claimed to have drunk 10 bottles of Bordeaux in one night.

The claim was made by Japanese chef Kenji Fujimoto, who claims that he was former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's personal sushi chef from 1988 to 2001.

He visited North Korea in April 2016 and told South Korean TV network KBS that Kim appeared at dinner with six beautiful women and drank expensive Bordeaux wine.

Fujimoto added Kim boasted that he put away 10 bottles of Bordeaux in one sitting a few days earlier.

The dictator is also said to be a heavy smoker and a big fan of Swiss Emmental cheese.

CULT COUNTY, USA The incredible story of Rajneeshpuram, the city built by an Indian free love guru in rural Oregon and featured in Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country

Here's a feature on new Netflix series Wild Wild Country I did. Hope you enjoy.

In 1981 followers of controversial Indian free love guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh bought a ranch in rural Oregon to set up a religious community called Rajneeshpuram.

What followed is a jaw-dropping story of bioterrorism, armed militias, assassination plots, bombs, and the world's largest collection of Rolls-Royces.

 Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

It is the subject of newly-released Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country – and is tipped to be just as explosive as Making A Murderer and The Keepers.

Indian spiritual leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who preached a vague philosophy of meditation, materialism and free love, attracted followers from all over the world to his commune in the city of Pune.

In the early 80s the guru allowed his charismatic personal assistant Ma Anand Sheela to buy the 64,000-acre Big Muddy Ranch in remote Wasco County, Oregon, with the intention of building a utopia for his followers, the sannyasins.

Every day Rajneesh drove past his waiting devotees in one of the 93 Rolls-Royces bought for his use – the largest collection of the luxury cars in the world.

The sect quickly ran into confrontation with the residents of Antelope, Oregon, a tiny town of fewer than 50 people located 19 miles away.

The residents were angry that the sannyasins, who exclusively wore red, maroon and pink, were setting up a new city – complete with a fire department, police, restaurants and an airstrip – instead of a small agricultural commune.

 Scenes like this went down poorly with the nearby townsfolk

Scenes like this went down poorly with the nearby townsfolk

They also considered them a dangerous cult and thought Rajneesh, who owned scores of gem-studded Rolex watches, was a con man.

In turn, the residents of Rajneeshpuram accused the deeply conservative townsfolk of religious intolerance towards their bizarre meditation practices and group sex rituals.

One local told TV news reporters at the time: “They’re invading. Maybe not with bullets, but with money and, um, immoral sex.”

Tense electoral and legal battles at a local and then state level led to a series of violent crimes.

A bomb attack on a hotel run by the sannyasins in the city of Portland led to the people of Rajneeshpuram arming themselves with assault weapons and undertaking military training.

This, combined with Rajneesh's “acid-tongued” right-hand woman Sheela threatening the sect's opponents, alarmed law enforcement officials and locals.

 An armed member of the town's 'Peace Force'

An armed member of the town's 'Peace Force'

In 1984 the salad bars at ten restaurants in The Dalles, a city in Oregon, were contaminated with salmonella by followers of Rajneesh, hospitalising 45.

Staff cultured the potentially-lethal bacteria in labs inside the commune.

The plotters also poisoned two visiting Wasco County commissioners during a visit to Rajneeshpuram.

They had hoped to incapacitate the voting population of the city so that their own candidates would win county elections. It was the largest bioterrorism attack in American history.

It later emerged that there was an assassination plot to murder US Attorney Charles H. Turner, who was appointed to investigate illegal activity at Rajneeshpuram.

The guru accused his personal secretary Ma Anand Sheela, who had left the commune for Europe, of being behind the crimes, saying "the perfect bitch" was guilty of “arson, wiretapping, attempted murder, and mass poisonings”.

She in turn accused him of ordering the attacks.

Sheela, who one former follower called a “power-mad megalomaniac”, was extradited from Germany and imprisoned for 29 months of a 20-year sentence.

She now owns and operates nursing homes in Switzerland.

The former leader is unrepentant, telling the documentary makers that “the people of Oregon should think themselves lucky” to have lived next to Rajneeshpuram.

Rajneesh himself was accused of immigration violations and eventually returned to Poona in India. He died in 1990.

His followers left Oregon shortly after he was extradited, to the delight of people in Antelope. His movement still thrives in India and throughout the world.

 Ma Anand Sheela was a driving force behind the growth of Rajneeshpuram

Ma Anand Sheela was a driving force behind the growth of Rajneeshpuram

In Wild Wild Country, former residents of Rajneeshpuram speak fondly of their time there, claiming it was the only place they had ever been loved and accepted.

One said: “Everyone was in a good mood, always. We built this incredible city that was truly joyous.

“It was real people, living real lives.”

The site where it once stood is now a camp for a pro-abstinence Christian youth organisation.

Favourite so far

An ex-Russian soldier called Anton Maltsev was being hounded by debt collectors. His response was... interesting.

With thanks to Crime Russia.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5288273/Russian-veteran-builds-Iron-Man-suit-fight-bailiffs.html

 

Anton Maltsev.jpg

Reflections of a first-time freelancer

Well, I'm a few months into this venture now so I thought I'd share some of my observations about being a full-time freelancer.

1. No pics, don't bother. Unless the story is, as the Great Bard once said, an absolute banger it's going to be hard to place it if there are no decent pics. I was aware that this was the case beforehand, but it has still been a steep learning curve..

2. Strange what makes. Some stories I've put out I thought would be slam dunks have been ignored, while others I was less certain about have been used. It means I'm constantly having to think about and second guess what I'm putting out there. But that's no bad thing.

3. Positive reactions. News editors I've worked with in the past have been very positive and helpful about my new venture. The majority of those I don't know have also been very receptive. A big confidence boost in an uncertain time.

4. Scrap, kick, bite, gouge. Don't get disheartened. I've had days where nothing has been picked up and it can make you question yourself. But then you keep going, get a great reaction to a piece and you're up and running again. I've had many excited conversations with my retired journo dad when a story is picked up.

Here's a couple of recent hits. Click on pics to read:

First piece published

I had my first feature published since becoming a freelancer. It was actually a week ago but I've been busy this week and haven't had a chance to update.

It's on MailOnline and it's about the Wee House Company, which sells adorable pre-fab houses that take just eight weeks to build.

Click on the image to read it.